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11th May Current Affairs

Centre revises MPLADS norms

(GS-II: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these)

In News:

The Ministry of Finance has revised the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) rules.

Revised norms:

The interest that the fund accrues will be deposited in the Consolidated Fund of India.

About MPLAD scheme:

Launched in December, 1993.

Seeks to provide a mechanism for the Members of Parliament to recommend works of developmental nature for creation of durable community assets and for provision of basic facilities including community infrastructure, based on locally felt needs.

The MPLADS is a Plan Scheme fully funded by Government of India.

The annual MPLADS fund entitlement per MP constituency is Rs. 5 crore.

Special focus:

MPs are to recommend every year, works costing at least 15 per cent of the MPLADS entitlement for the year for areas inhabited by Scheduled Caste population and 7.5 per cent for areas inhabited by S.T. population.

Release of Funds:

Funds are released in the form of grants in-aid directly to the district authorities.

The funds released under the scheme are non-lapsable.

The liability of funds not released in a particular year is carried forward to the subsequent years, subject to eligibility.

The MPs have a recommendatory role under the scheme.

The district authority is empowered to examine the eligibility of works, sanction funds and select the implementing agencies, prioritise works, supervise overall execution, and monitor the scheme at the ground level.

At least 10% of the projects under implementation in the district are to be inspected every year by the district authority.

Recommendation of works:

The Lok Sabha Members can recommend works in their respective constituencies.

The elected members of the Rajya Sabha can recommend works anywhere in the state from which they are elected.

Nominated members of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha may select works for implementation anywhere in the country.

Punjab promoting green manure

(GS-III: Agriculture related issues)

In News:

Punjab Government is promoting the cultivation of green manure these days.

The state government is providing a subsidy on the seed at the rate of Rs 2,000 per quintal.

What is green manure?

These are crops grown specifically for maintaining soil fertility and structure.

They are normally incorporated back into the soil, either directly, or after removal and composting.

Green manure varieties are incorporated into the soil when the crop is 42-56 days old.

Examples:

There are three main varieties of green manure, including Dhaincha, Cowpea, Sunhemp. Also some crops such as summer moong, mash pulses and guar act as green manure.

Benefits:

Helps in enhancing the organic matter in the soil.

Meets the deficiency of the micronutrients.

Reduces the consumption of the inorganic fertilisers.

It is a good alternative to the organic manure.

It conserves the nutrients, adds nitrogen and stabilises the soil structure.

It decomposes rapidly and liberates large quantities of carbon dioxide and weak acids, which act on insoluble soil minerals to release nutrients for plant growth.

It contains 15 to 18 quintals of dry matter, which also contains phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, iron and manganese, per acre and 20 to 40kg per acre of nitrogen.

Why is sowing of green manure important in Punjab?

Punjab’s per hectare fertiliser consumption, which is around 244 kg, is one of the highest in the country and is also higher than the national average.

Green manure can curtail this consumption to a large extent by 25 to 30% and can save huge input cost for the farmers.

Regular use of chemical fertilisers such as urea, diammonium phosphate (DAP) lead to deficiencies of micronutrients like iron and zinc, especially in the soils where rice is cultivated thus affecting productivity.

PH level of the soil in several parts of Punjab is more than 8.5 and 9 per cent. Green manure helps maintain it.

Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore

(GS-I: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times)

In News:

The 161st birth anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore was celebrated across the nation on May 7.

He was born on 7 May 1861.

About Rabindranath Tagore:

Early life:

Popularly known as ‘Gurudev’, he was born in an affluent Family.B

Tagore was primarily known as a writer, poet, playwright, philosopher and aesthetician, music composer and choreographer, founder of a unique educational institution – Visva- Bharati and a painter.

Tagore wrote his first poetry aged He published his first poems aged 16 under the pen-name ‘Bhanusimha’.

He had spoken at the World Parliament for Religions in the years 1929 and 1937.

Contributions:

He wrote the National Anthems of India and Bangladesh.

He left his imprint on art and played a role in transforming its practices and ushering into modernism.

Between 1928 and 1940, Rabindranath painted more than 2000 images. He never gave any title to his paintings.

Expressionism in European art and the primitive art of ancient cultures inspired him.

Awards:

In 1913, he became the first Indian to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature for his novel ‘Geetanjali’.

Role in the freedom struggle:

He denounced British imperialism, yet he did not fully support or agree with Gandhi and his Noncooperation Movement.

He viewed British rule as a symptom of the overall “sickness” of the social “disease” of the public.

In his writings, he also voiced his support of Indian nationalists.

Rabindranath Tagore wrote the song Banglar Mati Banglar Jol (Soil of Bengal, Water of Bengal) to unite the Bengali population after Bengal partition in 1905.

He also wrote the famed ‘Amar Sonar Bangla’which helped ignite a feeling of nationalism amongst people.

He started the Rakhi Utsavwhere people from Hindu and Muslim communities tied colourful threads on each other’s wrists.

Tagore rejected violence from the British as well and renounced the knighthood that had been given to him in by Lord Hardinge in 1915 in protest of the violent Amritsar massacre in which the British killed at least 1526 unarmed Indian citizens.

The cornerstone of Tagore’s beliefs and work is the idea that anti-colonialism cannot simply be achieved by rejecting all things British, but should consist of incorporating all the best aspects of western culture into the best of Indian culture.

What freedom meant for Tagore?

“Freedom” does not simply mean political freedom from the British; True freedom means the ability to be truthful and honest with oneself otherwise autonomy loses all of its worth.

PMJJBY, PMSBY & APY Complete 7 Years

(GS-II: Welfare Schemes for the vulnerable sections of the society)

In News:

Social security schemes Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY), Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) and Atal Pension Yojana (APY) have completed seven years of their launch.

When were the schemes launched?

The schemes were launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 9, 2015.

Basic details of the schemes:

PMJJBY:

It is a one-year life insurance scheme renewable from year to year offering coverage for death due to any reason.

Eligibility: Individuals in the age group of 18-50 years having a savings bank or a post office account are entitled to enroll under the scheme.

Life cover of Rs 2 lakh in case of death due to any reason against a premium of Rs 330 per annum.

Achievements: 12.76 crore enrollments.

PMSBY:

It is a one-year accidental insurance scheme renewable from year to year offering coverage for death or disability due to accident.

Eligibility: Individuals in the age group of 18-70 years having a savings bank or a post office account are entitled to enroll under the scheme.

Accidental death cum disability cover of Rs.2 lakh (Rs.1 lakh in case of partial disability) for death or disability due to an accident.

Achievements: 28.37 crore enrollments.

APY:

It seeks to provide financial security and cover future exigencies for the people in the unorganized sector.

APY is administered by Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) under the overall administrative and institutional architecture of the National Pension System (NPS).

Eligibility: Open to all bank account holders in the age group of 18 to 40 years.

Achievements: 4 Crore registrations.